Postgraduate Research Profiles

The Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) builds on the established UNSW strengths of Satellite systems, satellite navigation, earth observation and hypersonics. In these areas, the Centre works closely with and acts as a bridge between the Schools of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Computer Science & Engineering, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering and UNSW Canberra.

Our students hail from a variety of educational backgrounds, but most come to us from aerospace and electrical enginering fields. We are also proud of our multi-continental mix of local and international students. If you would like to know more about any of the PhD projects listed below, or would like to get in contact with any of our students, please get in touch with us via email or through one of our social media networks.

PhD Students

Scott O'Brien
PhD student

With the forecast dramatic increase in numbers of global navigation satellites (GNSS) in our skies over the next 10 years comes with it the increased opportunity to use these "free" signals-of-opportunity for purposes other than positioning, navigation and timing. Scott's research will investigate recently developed techniques for earth remote sensing using these signals - a field known as GNSS Reflectometry.

Joseph Gauthier
PhD student

My research topic is the synchronization of physically isolated local oscillators (LO) in the context of a dynamic application (e.g., bistatic synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system). Although a plethora of literature is available regarding synchronization of stationary LOs, the same cannot be said for nonstationary LOs, particularly those that are physically isolated. However, in order for almost any distributed system to operate correctly, synchronization (to some degree) must be achieved. Thus, the purpose of my research is to pursue the development of new algorithms that may be used to achieve synchronization in the context of GPS and other available methods. Some of the errors that must be taken into account are the frequency accuracy and stability of the LOs, knowledge of their relative positions and velocities, and the scene geometry.

Yang Yang
PhD student

My research fields focus on the relative navigation algorithms for spacecraft formation flying (SFF) missions in near Earth orbit using the GNSS measurements. It is well-known that formation flying is at present one of the most promising approaches to mastering near Earth space. And relative positioning and navigation technology plays a key role in the formation maintenance and control. Firstly, relative dynamics modelling methods are analysed for the Garada project, taking the mission restrictions into consideration. The initial values for the relative motion should also be searched using the global optimisation method in order to obtain the quasi-periodic relative motion.

My research will further look into the absolute/relative spacecraft navigation using both the GPS and the Galileo measurements. Within this area, the combinations between multi-frequency signals and different navigation systems will be investigated for the observation equations and the corresponding integer ambiguity will be resolved to obtain high positioning accuracy. An extended Kalman Filter will be used in the navigation algorithm and simulation platform including the software using Matlab coding. The hardware of Spirent GNSS Simulator and Namuru receiver will also be built to execute and test the relative navigation algorithms.

Visiting Practicum Students

Rui Li
Former Visiting PhD student from China

My research topic is GPS signal simulation for space-borne receivers in formation flying missions. The GPS signals have some different characters in space, especially for ionospheric effects. I analyzed all the error sources in detail and built a hardware simulation platform using Spirent simulator. A series of tests have been done to verify the performance of the Namuru receiver and corresponding algorithms. Meanwhile, a simulation environment is set up using Matlab where the model of ionospheric effects is more authentic. The study on high-accuracy relative positioning algorithm is in progress.

Yuanyuan Jiao
Former Visiting PhD student from China

The research topic is optimal estimation theory and its application to satellite navigation and attitude determination. For the challenge of high accuracy satellite navigation and attitude determination, the proposed research strategy is that the characteristics of measurement data and model is firstly analyzed, then, the theoretical research on optimal estimation and the analysis results of the measurement model can be combined to design a valid algorithm for high accuracy parameter estimation. Some research work in characteristic analysis of measurement data and data processing methods, optimal estimate theory and the parameter estimation methods, nonlinear filtering methods have been investigated and developed.

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